Ah, the early-’00s, a time when the top-charting musical releases included gems like “Bootylicious,” “Ms. Jackson,” “Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You),” and “Hot in Herre.” It was an era that also included Sisqó’s “The Thong Song” and its accompanying video, which features the R&B artist (formerly of the band Dru Hill) sporting a short, silver cut and two-finger white gloves.
We haven’t heard much from Sisqó in recent years (with the exception of a 2014 appearance on Celebrity Wife Swap), but this week it was announced that come January 2018 he’ll be perform on a short cruise called “Ship-Hop, Starring I Love the 90s Tour.” While we imagine him sailing past Miami, Key West, and Cozumel alongside the likes of Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, and Naughty by Nature, we revisit his August 2001 feature in Interview (by Madonna’s brother, no less), in which we learned he has a thing for dragons.
The New Face of Old-School ShowmanshipBy Christopher Ciccone CHRISTOPHER CICCONE: How are you?
SISQÓ: What’s going on, player? I’m up here in London, basically letting everybody know I got the new joint coming out.
CICCONE: Do fans in London get what you’re doing better than they do in the States?
SISQÓ: They’re into my music and now they’re just starting to get me as an artist. Over here it’s music first, artist second. In America, there are some artists who are more of an image than music; if your star status goes down there, you’re finished.
CICCONE: I’ve heard your new record [Return of Dragon (Dragon/Def Soul)], and I really liked it. Your voice reminded me a lot of Stevie Wonder.
SISQÓ: Damn, that’s flattering. Stevie can definitely sing loops around me. I probably could hang with him, but at the end of the day he would win.
CICCONE: You’ve been talking about creating a new style of music, yet your new album definitely has that ’70s vibe. Do you think you’ve managed to create something new?
SISQÓ: A lot of times with my more up-tempo music, I try to take the approach of a hip-hop artist, but when it comes to imaging, I’ve been following the pattern of Michael, Janet, Madonna. You know how every time they come with a new album they change their image? So I come over here and a lot of people are like, “What’s with the new hair?” I’m like, “Y’all must not have been looking—every album, I change.”
CICCONE: Well, not only does it keep it interesting for you, it keeps it interesting for the fans.
SISQÓ: With the artists that I named, every time they come out with a new album, something’s slightly different. In the case of Madonna, she’ll come with one joint that’ll be left, and then come totally right, but it’s always hot. She’s just got style. So, at the end, I want my name to be up there with those artists; for people to say, he’s one of those iconic figures you can’t put in a box.
CICCONE: It’ll cost you a lot of your private life.
SISQÓ: Oh, really?
CICCONE: It’s just the nature of the beast.
SISQÓ: Well, I kind of want it right now, but I guess I should calm down before I get what I ask for.
CICCONE: Do you spend a lot of time working on a number one single, or do you just make the record?
SISQÓ: Not so much a number one single. Not anymore. With my last album, I was definitely trying to achieve accolades and awards. But with this one I was like, “Fuck it, I don’t care if y’all like it or not.” As long as my fans and I appreciate the music I’m gonna be all right.
CICCONE: I take it that means you’re happy with the record?
SISQÓ: With my new album, yeah. With my last album I have to apologize because I called it Unleash the Dragon but I didn’t really unleash—I kind of stayed in the Dru Hill vernacular, and that’s why the album was so ballad-heavy.
CICCONE: Do you think you’ll be doing a record with Dru Hill again?
SISQÓ: Oh, definitely. I want to do a new Dru Hill album right after this one, but I’m waiting for [Dru Hill member] Woody. His mom passed away a couple of months ago, and he said he wouldn’t do a new Dru Hill album until he fulfilled his mom’s wishes and did a gospel album. So you can’t really put a time limit on how long someone will grieve.
CICCONE: Are you going to stay in the R&B style, or do you feel like it’s dead?
SISQÓ: When I say R&B is dead, I’m pretty much saying the creativity is gone. Back in the day, even if they were singing about the same things, each artist was unique. That’s why I try to stay away from the big-name producers, so I can prove that it’s not about the producer, it’s about the artist. A lot of R&B artists have gotten away from being artists and are just chasing after the next hot producer and it all starts to sound the same.
CICCONE: Do you write and produce most of your own stuff?
SISQÓ: I wrote and produced 50 percent of this album and about 90 percent of the last album. All of my break-out songs I wrote.
CICCONE: How is your new label, Dragon Records, working out?
SISQÓ: My label is flourishing slowly. It’s a budding rose. My new girl group, LovHer, has an album out this fall. They’re that whole girl power thing, but with a little more substance. My rapper Cooli Hi is an incredible lyricist. Give him a track and he’ll freestyle for an hour. They’re both featured on my first single, “Can I Live?”
CICCONE: One last question. Are you happy with where you are right now?
SISQÓ: Nah. You can probably sense it in my voice. I’m like, this is cool, but a little higher please.
THIS INTERVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE AUGUST 2001 ISSUE OF INTERVIEW.
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